The lovely Utah State Pen was the backdrop for this week's race, located in Bluffdale. Near Point of the Mountain, a favorite hang gliding spot. What makes a good place to hang glide, you ask? The answer is constant wind.
The course was a 9-mile circuit of frontage roads on the near the top of a spur of the Wasatch that I-15 happens to run across. Hills == climbing == lots 'o fun for the gravitationally enabled. I figure about 200 feet a lap on the main climb, to the finish line naturally. Some piddly little other climbing on the other side of the interstate, and with the constant headwind (that's right, always a headwind regardless of direction on the course) offered by the curious geography, it was just a gas. Or should I say firing squad?
4-5s did 6 laps for a grand total of 54 miles, getting up there for me as my training (such as it is) consists of 30-milers at most lately. Let's take a tour around the course, shall we? The start area was off one corner, from there we went south on the east frontage road. Gradually up to a bit of a downhill, up a bit again and then around two corners to the other side of the interstate, up the 200-foot hill to the finish and down again to the remaining two corners and the start. Various cones marked several serious potholes and puddles.
My race plan: hang out. No teammates to work with here, as Peter bailed on me - thanks. Peter. The creep-to-the-front-drift-to-the-back thing work pretty well on the finish hill for about four laps, then I discovered a serious disadvantage when some people actually attacked on the hill. About ten got away, I hooked up with another six or seven but then lost lost most of them by the time we turned back south. Ended up dangling/chasing, working with the same two or three other guys the rest of the race, including everyone's favorite 15-year-old, Jackson Evans. Super Dave, I'm sad to report that he cramped up on the hill before the bell lap so we had to dump him there - didn't get a chance to beat him in a sprint, or let him have one in front of adoring fans.
Amazingly, we didn't get lapped by the 1-2s or 3s. About two minites after we finished some 3s came across, but they were too late. And it seems a couple in the 4-5 lead pack dropped out, meaning I could have had 9th if I didn't weigh 200 pounds and decide to let the 150-pounder have the stinking climb sprint. But tenth it was. Oh well.